One of the most important ingredients of peak athletic performance at ALL levels, across EVERY sport is the one that most often gets lost in today’s intense pressure cooker that is competitive athletics: FUN
How many times do you hear your coaches or teammates say to you, “Hey, let’s just go out today and really have some fun. That’s our only goal”?
My best guess is “not very often” to “NEVER!” The fact of the matter is that you should only be playing your sport because it makes YOU happy. You should practice and suffer through the hard work and pain of intense training because YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! Sports are GAMES and games are supposed to be fun.
The outcome of any sporting competition should never be so larger-than-life that you’re freaking out, dreading it and/or having an anxiety attack before or during the performance. If you’re that nervous and your stomach is killing you leading up to a competition, if you are dreading it then SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG!
The more that you can keep this perspective, that HAVING FUN SHOULD ALWAYS BE YOUR MAJOR GOAL WHEN YOU COMPETE, then the more consistently that you’ll perform at your highest level. This is especially true if you’re a coach and you really want your athletes to produce and win! Make the performance fun, let your athletes know that this is what is MOST important, and you will dramatically increase the chances that they will play out of their minds!
This is one of the great ironies about peak performance. If you’re having fun first, then you’ll always perform at your best. Getting too serious about a game’s outcome is the fastest way to kill your enjoyment of that particular performance. If you’re not having fun, if you are overly worried going into the match, game or race or you’re miserable throughout it, then you will always perform way below your potential.
Without fun there is no satisfaction. Without fun there will be no feeling of accomplishment. WITHOUT FUN FIRST, THERE CAN NEVER BE PEAK PERFORMANCE! Without fun there is really no point in being an athlete.
Just remember, FUN is the town that you must always drive through in order to get to your final destination, SUCCESS!